Massachusetts nurses protest unsafe staffing

Registered Nurses from Tufts Medical Center and Boston Medical Center picketed today, protesting proposed staffing changes which they say will put patients in harm’s way.
Boston Medical Center plans to increase the number of patients assigned to critical care nurses.  On some units, nurses who previously only cared for two patients will be required to care for three.  At Tufts, a new proposal will limit the amount of care directly provided by RNs while increasing RN patient loads.  Nurses at both facilities contend that increases in asssignments could lead to decreased quality of care.

According to the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, every additional patient assigned to an RN is associated with a 7 percent increase in the risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia, a 52 percent increase in respiratory failure and a 17 percent increase in medical complications, which adequate RN staffing is associated with improved patient outcomes.

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